Snapchat is an image messaging and multimedia mobile application created by Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown, former students at Stanford University, and developed by Snap Inc., originally Snapchat Inc. One of the principal concepts of Snapchat is that pictures and messages are only available for a short time before they become inaccessible. The prototype for Snapchat was started by Brown and Spiegel as a project for one of Spiegel's classes at Stanford, where Spiegel was a product design major. Beginning as "Picaboo", the idea was to create a selfie app (application) which allowed users to share images that were explicitly short-lived and self-deleting. The temporary nature of the pictures would therefore encourage frivolity and emphasize a more natural flow of interaction. When, in April 2011, Spiegel floated the product idea in front of his class as a final project, the classmates focused on the impermanent aspect of the potential product, and balked at the thought of temporary photos. Murphy was eventually brought into the project to write the source code for the application, and Picaboo first launched as an iOS-only app in July 2011. The application was relaunched in September under the name Snapchat.
Originally, Snapchat was centered on private, person-to-person photo sharing. New features, including the ability to send short videos, communicate via video chat, and saving necessary chat information through a press on a message, were added through later updates. Snapchat, introduced a "My Story" feature, letting users compile images, known as "snaps", into chronological storylines accessible to all of their friends. The Stories functionality was later expanded to "Live Stories", letting users at on-location events contribute snaps to a curated story available to all Snapchat users. In January 2015, Snapchat introduced "Discover", a designated area within the app focused on ad-supported short-form content from major publishers. Two years later, it announced a new, global "Our Story" feature, letting all users contribute snaps at any time. An "Official Stories" designation verifies the accounts of notable public figures. Snapchat has also introduced "Memories", allowing users to save snaps and story posts to a private storage area; "Geostickers", city-specific stickers that can be placed on snaps and messages; and "World Stickers", which lets users add augmented reality objects into any scenery.
Studies of Snapchat usage have discovered that its users are primarily millennials. Although researchers originally hypothesized that the app's self-deleting nature encouraged sexting, studies have concluded that privacy-sensitive messaging has been a minority-share of its usage forms, while the primary usage is sending comedic content. Further studies have also suggested that the success of Snapchat has not been due to its security, but rather for being "fun". Snapchat has become notable for representing a new, mobile-first direction for social media. The founders rebranded the company as Snap Inc. in September 2016, along with announcing Spectacles, a pair of smartglasses with a camera capable of recording ten seconds of video. As of May 2017, Snapchat has 166 million daily active users.